News

Christmas in Colonial America wasn’t always festive

Christmas in Colonial America wasn’t always festive

CHRISTMAS IN COLONIAL TIMES: The festivities weren't always so bright in early America. Photo: clipart.com

Christmas in America has become a mixture of both secular and religious themes, a time of joy, gratitude and celebration.

But in Colonial times, it was a different story.

Surprisingly little is known about how early Americans celebrated Christmas.

That’s because historians of the day spent their time chronicling politics and wars, not holidays.

But it is known that the early settlers of Virginia, Maryland and Georgia brought English customs with them, while in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania the traditions of Holland, Sweden and Germany were carried on.

In New England, Christmas was long frowned upon. The Puritans associated it with the Church of England and the old-world customs they were escaping, including feasting, drinking and playing games.

Christmas and other holiday celebrations were banned in Massachusetts from 1659 until 1681. A law was passed declaring that anyone who observed a holiday would be fined five shillings.

The first state to declare Christmas a legal holiday was Alabama, in 1836.

Latest Stories

in Music, Entertainment

Blake Shelton wants Luke Bryan to take his job

Fresh
blakesheltonlukebryan

If the country star ever decides to take a break from NBC's "The Voice," he already has a replacement in mind.

in Local, Surrounding Counties

Grottoes Woman Charged With Murder-For Hire

Fresh
WP-Gavel

A Rockingham County grand jury has indicted a Grottoes woman in an alleged murder-for-hire scheme.

in Entertainment

Big bling: 100-carat diamond could fetch $25M at auction

diamond

Sotheby's will auction the stunning stone on Tuesday in NYC.

in Sports

NBA: Watch the top 10 plays of the season

24-overlay5

Some of the year's biggest dunks and best shots.

in Sports

Preview: NHL games of the night

19-overlay4

WATCH: A look at the slate of Stanley Cup playoff games being played tonight, April 21.